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PostPosted: April 8th, 2019, 12:42 pm 
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Joined: January 24th, 2002, 1:00 am
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Location: Lyons, CO
I was in Wyoming this weekend, trying my hand on the North Platte around Alcova. We went there because there are a lot of big rainbows. It's a high desert tailwater with big rainbows. It was humbling, caught 0 fish for the weekend. And wind was blowing a legit 40 yesterday while we were in a high side dory, so we got a major rowing workout.

The highlight yesterday was a tremendous fight with a good fish that ultimately ended in the fly popping out. My question is was he likely fair-hooked or not?

I was nymphing deep (which I'm not that good at), with unweighted fly, heavy weighted anchor fly (actually tied on a mini-jig), then another unweighted fly, all maybe 18 inches apart, fished deep under a bobber in moving water from a moving boat. When I hooked the fish, we both saw the fish turn and flash and saw it had some serious girth, but that's the last time we saw him. I got tight, then put pressure on from the get go, as much as I thought the 5X could handle. The fish took off running across the big river and I palmed the reel, but he was so strong and with the wind blowing the boat was not moving quickly toward him. He got just about to the backing on a long line before he stopped. I worked him back closer on the reel over the next few minutes. We got close and he ran at the boat, I pulled line in and stayed tight. We then got ready to try to net him. At this point, we are upstream of the fish, coming down on him and I closed to bobber almost at the tip top. I could not lift him and we could not see him. Then he runs again and I can't turn him. I put on pressure big pressure one more time and he was gone, fly popped free, not bent. There were a few little bits of weeds on the weighted fly.

I've only had the chance to tangle with truly huge fish a small handful of times and it has been a while and I've never caught a two foot trout (23 is tops). Given these clues, was this a monster or did I have one by the tail or did I have a monster foul hooked?

At the time, I thought I must have the fish foul hooked, but now I'm thinking it was just a huge fish. When you foul hook a fish, you usually can't turn it, but you can still lift it straight up with enough pressure, once the fish tires out. My impression is that hooks don't usually pop free when you have the fish foul hooked. I think I just blew it and lost a huge fish.


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PostPosted: April 8th, 2019, 1:47 pm 
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When big fish run, they tend to put a lot of pressure on a hook, opening up a gap in the mouth around the hook. Changing the direction of the battle can then allow the hook to pull free. My experience on big fish that want to stay deep is that you need to let them come up before bringing them to net. They will turn eventually, if you given them enough time. Until their head is turned- you're really at a disadvantage. Trying to force them up usually doesn't work so well. For what its worth- I've spent half an hour or more trying to turn a large fish to get the head up before. It's not always easy- and doing so from a moving boat can be near impossible if the fish doesn't want to play. This is why Atlantic salmon guides often beach their boats after a sport hooks a large salmon.

Also, when fishing a multi-fly rig- it's not uncommon for a fish to take one fly and roll on the others. Sometimes, the hook in the mouth pulls free and one of the droppers will foul hook elsewhere. This is transferred to the angler as a bump in the tension when fighting the fish, followed by a stronger fight from the fish (as you're generally not fighting the fish so much at that point, as much as the drag of the current on the fish aided by the fishes' movements). Usually if the foul hooked fly then pulls free- you come up with scales.

If none of your hooks came up with scales- I would guess that you had a fair hooked fish and pulled the hook due to changing the angle of the fight (from fairly horizontal to near vertical), all when the fish was creating a larger hole in it's lip.

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PostPosted: April 8th, 2019, 2:03 pm 
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Blowin' it would have been not hooking it in the first place - great story - when are you going back?!?!?


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PostPosted: April 8th, 2019, 2:39 pm 
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If possible ( and sometimes it just isn’t) try to beach the drift boat. In that wind it might not have been possible, but when it is always beach the boat and fight large trout from shore.

Sometimes.....the trout just win. Good on you for hooking such a large trout. Congrats!

Dave M

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PostPosted: April 8th, 2019, 4:13 pm 
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I landed a very large log on light tippet on a glass rod this weekend. Quite a fight.


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PostPosted: April 8th, 2019, 5:38 pm 
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I have foul hooked my fair share of fish, big and small, 99% salmon I believe. In my experience foul hooked fish never jump. 99% of fair hooked Salmon and rainbows jump. Then again not everything in fishing is 100%.

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PostPosted: April 9th, 2019, 8:53 am 
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Last week I picked up a fish nymphing a three fly rig. The fish was a real bear to land. I could feel the head sharks and thought by the pull it was much larger. Then I thought it was foul hooked near the tail as I was having a hard time drawing it near. As I got it close and the indicator was 6” from the tip top and a 7-1/2’ rod and close to 10’ leader getting him to the net was another issue. He was foul hooked on top of the head. Ended up wading into shallow enough water for him to flounder onto its side and then skipping him into net. It was a very sweet 16-17” brown. Left me wondering if that was the fly (middle) he went for or if he had one of the others in mind.

Ron

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PostPosted: April 9th, 2019, 11:58 pm 
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I think Hunter nailed it. And wind? In WY? On Grey Reef? Well, I'm shocked to hear that. :lol:
A few years ago I rowed stern to, downstream for 30 mins. Made no more than 200 yds of headway. god that sucked.


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PostPosted: April 10th, 2019, 2:00 am 
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Location: Lyons, CO
Thanks for the replies, y'all. I'll think more about it, I'm sure, and one of these days I'll seal the deal on a beast of a fish. I'm not sure when I'm headed back to the Reef or Fremont Canyon. 4 hours of drive time to the middle of nowhere and still a lot of fishermen and pretty smart fish. I need time for my wounds to heal. If you're into nymphing for big strong smart tailwater fish, I think it's worth checking out. It's pretty much directly on the way from Colorado to Montana, so one could totally fly into Denver and rent a car (multiple direct flights between Denver and Portland now, just booked mine for this summer), and be fishing on the Reef for the evening hatch, then continue on up the road to the Horn, which is still on my list.

As for the wind and Baetis' comment --
I guess I thought I was a western flyfisher now, carved by the Wyoming winds like a chunk of sandstone. But there's a big difference between 20 gusting to 30 and 30 gusting to 45. I can only think of one day that I've fished with significantly worse winds, and they recorded an 80 mph wind gust on Flaming Gorge Dam that day.


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PostPosted: April 10th, 2019, 9:54 am 
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Pushaw,

Out of curiosity- what three flies were you fishing?

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PostPosted: April 10th, 2019, 10:23 am 
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pushaw wrote:
I guess I thought I was a western flyfisher now, carved by the Wyoming winds like a chunk of sandstone. But there's a big difference between 20 gusting to 30 and 30 gusting to 45. I can only think of one day that I've fished with significantly worse winds, and they recorded an 80 mph wind gust on Flaming Gorge Dam that day.


I agree on Green River wind, that canyon has to produce some of the worst in the west. Friends fished it several years ago and ran into the upriver wind. No one in any boat or raft could get down the river,everyone had to pull to shore and wait an hour or more for the wind to subside.

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PostPosted: April 10th, 2019, 1:14 pm 
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Hunter --
My top fly was a little grey midge pattern with a little flash (could also be taken for a baetis). I can't remember what it's called or even exactly which one I was using. Middle fly is sort of a secret that I'm not supposed to share (pattern from a friend of a friend), but I can tell you it's tied on a small jig head and it has some pink in it and it catches fish, even though it arguably looks like absolutely nothing I've ever seen in the natural world. Bottom fly was an unweighted natural colored pine squirrel leech purchased that day at the advice of the shop there -- really good guys at Grey Reef Anglers. They recommend it in almost all of their reports. I'm pretty sure the fish was on the leech, because the middle fly had some algae on it when I reeled up.


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